Stellaris – Where and How to Build a Starbase

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Starbases are the most important space structures you will build in Stellaris. A problem a lot of newer players face is knowing where and how to build them.

Starbases carry out multiple roles. They determine the owner of a system, construct ships, collect trade value, and are a system’s last line of defense. Not only that, there is a long list of upgrades available for them, so you can tailor a starbase to suit your needs.

Recommended Read: How to Build Megastructures in Stellaris

Starbases are a core mechanic of the game, and if you don’t understand how they work, you will struggle to advance your empire to a credible galactic power. This guide will teach you everything you need to know about building starbases in Stellaris.

Starbases are built orbiting the central celestial body in any given star system. To build them, you use a construction ship. They cost alloys and influence.

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Where and How to Build a Starbase in Stellaris

Building starbases is one of the first things you will need to learn how to do in Stellaris. It is how you expand your empire and begin populating the stars.

If you have found yourself in this guide, chances are you are very new to the game. if you are new, welcome. It’s great to have more Stellaris players.

This guide will also go into detail on some of the basic terminology in the game. This will help you when reading the in-game tooltips, which are notorious for being obtuse to decipher.

When it comes to the building of starbases, the game does a lot of the work for you. Our job as players is to decide the best locations to build the starbases and monitor other empires’ expansion near our borders.

Where to Build a Starbase

When you start the game, you begin in your home star system. A star system or just system are catch-all terms for any solar system in the game. Much like our own solar system, there will be a star and other celestial bodies orbiting it.

The next term to explain is celestial body. A celestial body is any star, planet, moon, black hole, or asteroid located within a star system.

Your starting home system will contain a starbase. If you look at your system’s star, you will find it there. At the center of every system will be a star or a black hole. This is where starbases are built.

Deciding where to expand is tricky. Every galaxy is different, but I would advise aiming for close-by habitable planets, resources, and secure some choke points.

Each system may only contain one starbase, and there is no way to alter that. What you can do, though, is upgrade them after researching the relevant technology. This will improve their military power and provide more build slots.

How to Build a Starbase

We now know where to build, but how do we build a starbase when playing Stellaris? This is also a very simple process, but there are a few hoops to jump through and some game mechanics to learn about first.

It is impossible to build a base within any other empire’s borders. Borders represent an empire’s territory, and anything within them is exclusive to them. To view borders, you need to look at the galaxy map.

At the beginning of the game, you will only see your borders. Building starbases will increase your empire size and allow you to reach out further.

Before we can order the construction of a starbase, we must first fully survey the system. Fully surveying a system involves sending a science ship to scan every celestial body within the system.

You can do this by right-clicking the desired system in the Galaxy map and giving the order to survey. The science ship will head there and carry out this order right away.

When the science ship has finished surveying, you can build a starbase. Select a construction ship and right-click the system in the galaxy map.

The option to build a starbase will now be available. This will cost around 100 alloys and some influence. The influence price can fluctuate, which I will explain more about soon.

Once the order is given, the work on the starbase will begin. When built, your borders will reflect this expansion, and you can make use of the other celestial bodies within the system.

Paying for Starbases

As I mentioned before, starbases cost 100 alloys and influence. The base cost is 75 influence times the number of hyperlane jumps from your empire.

A hyperlane jumps are represented by the lines that connect systems in the galaxy map. Ships perform Hyperlane jumps across these lines to get from system to system.

If the outpost you wish to construct is 2 hyperlane jumps from your borders, it will cost 150 influence and 100 alloys.

At some point, you and an opponent will both be converging on a strategically valuable system. Skipping a few jumps ahead and paying the premium is the best to ensure you snag it before your rival can.

There are ways in-game to get some savings on the influence price per jump. A list of all the ways to do this is as follows:

  • Having the Devouring Swarm civic reduces influence cost by 50 percent.
  • Picking the Xenophobic or Fanatic Xenophobic ethic provides a 40 or 20 percent reduction respectively.
  • Determined Exterminator Civic, available to machine empires, provides a 30 percent saving.
  • The Ascension Perk Interstellar Dominion reduces influence cost by 20 percent. Another benefit is a 20 percent influence cost reduction on making claims.
  • If your empire’s ruler has the Expansionist trait, you will get a 15 percent decrease in cost.
  • Finally, in the Expansion tradition tree is the Reach for the Stars upgrade. This lowers the cost by 10 percent.

Upgrading Starbases

The initial stage of starbases is called outposts. Outposts don’t add to your starbase capacity, collect no trade value, and are not customizable.

For all intents and purposes, they are a flag to let other empires know who owns the star system.

There are five tiers of starbase. Except for the first upgrade, they will all need to be researched.

The order of the upgrades is; Outpost, Starport, Starhold, Star Fortress, and Citadel. Each tier also makes the base much stronger in terms of military power.

Upgraded starbases add to the starbase capacity. This is a soft cap that, if you are under, has no penalty. Every upgraded starbase over the cap increases their upkeep cost by 25 percent.

When upgraded, you can build modules, buildings, and defense platforms to improve the efficacy of the starbase. The higher the tier of the starbase, the more of these upgrades you can install.

The list of upgrades for starbases is well beyond the scope of this guide, so I will leave you to discover those on your own.

This is everything you need to know about starbases to begin your journey in Stellaris.

As you can see, even a simple mechanic like building one building has multiple layers of complexity built into it.

If you have any questions or suggestions for this guide, please let us know in the comments section below. Have fun building your space stations.

Simon Neve

Simon lives in Northern Ireland with his wife and two children. When not caring for his family, Simon enjoys video games, board games, and tabletop roleplaying games. When playing isn't an option he writes about them instead.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. ND

    Solid information. I’m new, and enjoying the game. It’s my first run, and it’s going alright I think.

    What I was wondering about starbases, is where should they go? I have trade routes, but don’t fully understand them. However I’m starting to think they aren’t a starbase priority. I just switched on automation for a construction ship, and was surprised to see it traveling off outside my border (which is what brought me here). I think I need them to colonize planets, and to dig archeology sites. Since the starbase capacity is so limited, I’m confused on the priority of their placement.

    It seems that the wormhole sites, the teleport gates, and choke points are the most strategic spots. And maybe a high resource star system. But maybe not. Maybe if I was planning a relocation, but then I would need the starbase anyways for the habitable planet.

    It seems their top function is for colonization. But there’s still a lot for me to explore.

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